May 4, 1886, a confrontation between police and labor protesters would be called The Haymarket Square Riot. Seven policemen were killed and over 50 wounded.
May 4, 1970, National Guardsmen opened fire on a crowd of 1,000 students at Kent State University killing four. The students were protesting President Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia.
May 5, 1865, was declared Decoration Day by General John Logan. May 30th started the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves from the Civil War with flowers. Congress moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May 1971.
May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Brown v. Board of Education. It concluded that segregation of public schools “solely on the basis of race” denies black children “equal educational opportunity” even though “physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may have been equal. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens volcano erupted.
May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam failed and over 2,200 people were killed in Johnstown Pennsylvania.